Economic Trouble Causes Thousands of Deaths by Suicide

Jun 2014

Texas suicide lawyerThe Great Recession that started in 2007 caused many people to lose their homes and their livelihood. Some individuals and families, however, experienced a loss that was far beyond any financial devastation. According to a recent article on CBS News, the Great Recession may have been the cause of more than 10,000 deaths by suicide.

Economic stress can significantly increase the chances of someone having suicidal thoughts, and a job loss or a foreclosure can lead to someone attempting suicide. Families and community members need to be especially supportive of those going through financial hardship and mental health professionals must be vigilant in watching for signs that a patient they are treating may be considering death by suicide after a financial setback.

If medical professionals fail to recognize and act on signs of suicide, surviving family members may be able to take legal action to obtain compensation for losses. A suicide attorney at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson can represent those who lose a loved one as a result of death by suicide.

Economic Distress and Death by Suicide

Researchers from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Topical Medicine examined information on deaths by suicide from 24 different countries in the European Union as well as in Canada and the United States.

Researchers found a substantial increase in rates of suicide between 2008 and 2010. The increase in deaths by suicide was four times greater among men than among women.

In the European Union, suicides increased 6.5 percent from the time the economic crisis started in 2007 until the end of 2009. In Canada, there was a 4.5 percent increase in deaths by suicide between 2007 and 2010. In the United States, there was a 4.8 percent increase in deaths by suicide. These numbers were “conservative” estimates, and it is likely that there were more deaths that were not counted.

During this same time period, there was also a significant increase in the rate of prescription antidepressant use. For example, in the United Kingdom, there was an 11 percent increase in antidepressant use between 2003 and 2007 but by 2010, there was a 19 percent increase in the number of people taking such medications.

The fact that the differences in suicide rates occurred in all of the countries affected by the great recession gave researchers considerable confidence in concluding that it was economic factors that specifically caused the increase in the number of people who died by suicide.

Unfortunately, key risk factors for suicides during a recession include home repossession, a significant increase in debt, and the loss of a job.

Interventions such as return-to-work programs and employment assistance may help to reduce the risk of suicide. In fact for each $100 per person spent on programs to help the unemployed, there is a .4 percent increase in the risk of death by suicide.

Ultimately, however, mental health professionals may have the biggest impact on reducing the chances of a death by suicide in each particular case since behavioral therapy and the use of antidepressant medications can help a person to weather even serious economic hardship.

A suicide attorney at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson can help. Call (214) 618-8222 or visit to schedule a free case consultation.

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